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History of Scouting in Ireland

  • 1908 - Present The Scout Association of Northern Ireland
  • 1908 – 1921 Part of the U.K. Scouts.

  • 1921 – 1937 Irish Free State Scout Council.

  • 1927 – 1983 Catholic Boys Scouts of Ireland.

  • 1937 – 1949 Éire Scout Council.

  • 1949 – Ireland declared itself a Republic and a new independent National Association was formed known as The Boy Scouts of Ireland. Ireland was admitted to the World Brotherhood of Scouting at the Boy Scouts’ International Conference held in Norway in September 1949.

  • 1965 – 2004. Federation of Irish Scout associations was formed which allowed C.S.I. to be recognised by  the World Organisation of the Scout Movement .

  • 1968 – The Boy Scouts of Ireland became the Scout Association of Ireland.

  • 1971 – C.B.S.I. Knight Errant Clans became Venture Scout Units.

  • 1976 – Girls Admitted to Scout Association of Ireland and the first S.A.I. Beaver Colony is founded.

  • 1978 The first C.B.S.I. Beaver Scout Colony was formed in Dublin. The new Beaver Scout section was approved by the C.B.S.I. National Council in 1980 by which time there were 26 Colonies in existence.

  • 1983 – Catholic Scouts of Ireland girls admitted to Venture Scouts.

  • 1999 – 2004 The Scout Association of Ireland and The Catholic Scouts of Ireland both adapt Scouting Ireland to their names becoming Scouting Ireland S.A.I. and Scouting Ireland C.S.I., in 2004 both associations dropped the S.A.I. and C.S.I. forming a united organisation Scouting Ireland.

  • 2004 – Present Scouting Ireland.




In 1965 the Federation of Irish Scout Associations was formed which allowed C.S.I. to be recognised by the World Organisation of the Scout Movement. Cumann Gasóga na hÉireann was used on the badges of the Scout Association of Ireland S.A.I., Federation of Irish Scout Associations badges had the Co before Cumann Gasóga na hÉireann when written in Irish.


The first recorded meeting took place at the home of Mr. Richard P. Fortune, 3 Dame Street, Dublin on 15th February 1908 where four boys were enrolled in the Wolf Patrol of the 1st Dublin Troop. At the time of the first meeting Ireland was part of the U.K. When the Irish Free State was established in 1921 the Irish Free State Scout Council was formed. In 1937 de Valera (Irish President) published the 1937 constitution which changed the name from The Irish Free State to Ireland or in Gaelic Éire, the name of the Scout Council was changed to Éire Scout Council.

In 1949 the Ireland declared itself a Republic and the Éire Scout Council was changed to The Boys Scouts of Ireland.

Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland C.B.S.I.

The C.B.S.I. was formed in 1927. In 1983 girls were admitted to Venture Scouts and the name was changed to The Catholic Scouts of Ireland. In 2004 the C.S.I. merged with the S.A.I. forming Scouting Ireland.


Oganaigh Fódla Scouts

Oganaigh Fódla (Fódlach) National Youth or Juveniles of the Nation. Before the formation of the Federation of Irish Scout Associations in 1965 C.B.S.I. Scouts could not take part in International Scouting events because they were not members of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). I am not sure when Oganaigh Fódla was formed, the first mention of it I could find was at the World Scout Jamboree in 1947 held in France. Scouts remained members of their respective Irish Scout organisation as well as being members of Oganaigh Fódla. Oganaigh Fódla Scouts wore a white shirt instead of their usual uniform shirt.


Rawley Scouts.

Not sure if this term applied to Scouts in other Irish or world Scouting organizations but in the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland a Rawley Scout was a boy who had joined the Troop but had not gained his Second Class Scout badge, in order to be invested a boy had to have passed the Second Class Scout tests.


To get your Second Class Scout badge the first thing a boy had to do was know the Scout Law and Promise (see C.B.S.I. Law and Promise below). Up until the end of the 1970s and maybe beyond a boy being invested into the C.B.S.I. was expected the know the Promise and Law both of which had to be recited from memory at the investiture ceremony, having the Promise and Law read from a book and repeated by the boy was not acceptable. As if learning the Law and Promise was not enough some boys had to learn it in English and Irish.


As well as knowing the Law and Promise a boy had to demonstrate he knew and understood the principles of Scout Participation, Scout Craft and Scout Sprit.


  • Scout Participation was easy, attend Patrol meeting and take an active part in a hike or two and attend at least one camp.


  • Scout Craft. Not so easy, there were a series of 39 tests, these are listed at the back of the Scouting Trail. A boy had to demonstrate a knowledge and participate in the tests, one of which, number 36, was to be able to join in the singing of the Catholic Scout Anthem Salve Regina

Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiæ,

vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.

Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevæ,

Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes

in hac lacrimarum valle.

Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos

misericordes oculos ad nos converte;

Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,

nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.

O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.


  • Scout Sprit. A boy had to demonstrate he knew how to live by the Scout Law and Promise and by the principals of Scouting.


The table below lists the membership of the C.B.S.I. from 1930 to 1964

Year
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963
1964
Total
3219
4452
6793
7833
8010
8471
4244
3551
3590
3366
2980

3399
3622
4148
4322

3880
3158
2929



3316
3242
3750
4180
3981
3538
4242
4502
4811
5562
5467
6891
Chaplains/Exc





 
773
637
681
552
389

420
427
519
539

497
369
247



301
286
372
378
366
348
406
474
492
504
474
549
Scouters






726
241
248
231
175

185
236
255
289

303
210
177



211
281
239
245
248
239
261
247
295
313
334
394
Scouts






3045
2530
2527
2325
2164

2481
2587
2821
2883

2512
2134
2073



2281
2206
2486
2880
2654
2390
2795
3090
2936
3347
3245
3850
Cubs









112
94

218
300
479
435

454
322
302



445
410
565
575
600
489
634
515*
825
1123
1123
1724
Seniors*






65
91
92
96
72

53
29
37
68

49
28
51



25
14
19
21
6
15
98
127
218
192
208
253
Knight Errant






85
52
42
50
86

42
43
37
108

65
95
79



53
45
69
81
107
57
48
49
45
83
83
121
*Excludes Cork

Seniors* also includes Sea Scouts



Eucharistic Congress 1932
An important event for the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland was the Eucharistic Congress held from the 22nd to the 26th of June 1922. Thousands of CBSI Scouts camped in the grounds of Terenure College in Dublin providing first aiders, marshals, escorts and lining the route of the procession.
This is the type of uniform worn by a First Class CBSI Scouts during the Eucharistic Congress.
                                                                         

I don’t know of any Scout badges issued for the Eucharistic Congress but this metal pin badge was worn by many of those who took part.
                                                                 

The story below appeared In the January 31st 1920 edition of The Scout The Official organ of The Boy Scouts.

Scouts to the Rescue




The above image appeared on the cover with the caption Sounding the alarm which brought the 6th South Dublin (Leeson Park) Troop speeding to the rescue of a burning aeroplane. For the prompt and resourceful assistance of its members, this troop has been awarded the Silver Cross by Imperial Headquarters.

 

The account of the heroic rescue continues inside the magazine. Hard by the camp of the 6th South Dublin (Leeson Park) Troop at Laytown, Co. Meath, was the Gormanston Aerodrome.

 

Many a time the Scouts had enjoyed watching wonderful exhibitions of flight.

 

One day, as the Scouts were scattered about amusing themselves, they noticed that a machine was flying rather low. Suddenly there was a crash and in a moment the aeroplane was a seething mass of flames.

 

With great presence of mind the bugler sounded the alarm as he dashed towards the blazing machine. Scouts bobbed up from everywhere and rushed in the same direction.

 

Now we can let the pilot finish the tale. “Immediately on crashing my machine burst into flames. I slipped off my belt and crawled out of the seat and looked around for A.M. Gray. Not seeing him, I thought he had got clear of the machine, but on getting round the other side he was not to be seen, so I ran back to the observer’s cockpit and found him lying senseless at the bottom.

 

I managed to get his body out of the cockpit, but his right leg was firmly held by part of the gun mounting. Holding his body to prevent it from falling back into the pit I tried to free his right leg.

 

I was getting very dazed from exhaustion and the heat of the machine, when several Boy Scouts appeared, and while I held Gray’s body, they ran around to the other side and freed his right leg. Their actin was just in time, and the very least I could say Brave as the machine was a mass of flame and the heat was terrible.

 

The Scouts helped Gray and myself to their encampment, where they gave us First Aid treatment and brought Gray to his senses. In the meantime they had dispatched one of their number to the aerodrome and posted a guard of several others around the remains of the machine until men from the aerodrome arrived.”

For its splendid behaviour Imperial Headquarters has awarded the Silver Cross to the whole troop collectively.


Catholic Boy Scout of Ireland


I am not sure how it is now but in the 1960s and into the 1970s the C.B.S.I. had an official way in which Scouts shuld greet each other.

Moladh d’Iosa Chriost

(Praise be Jesus Christ)

This greeting was to be met with the reply.

Agus do Mhuire a Naomh Mháthair

(And Mary, his blessed Mother.)

The greeting was expected to be made in Gaelic but the English version was acceptable


Catholic Boy Scout of Ireland Promise.

(1960s-1970s)

On my Honour, with the Grace of God, I promise to do my best to love, honour, and serve Christ my King, His Holy Church, and His Blessed Mother: to help my neighbour at all times: and to obey the Scout Law.

The 2014 version of the Scouting Ireland Promise.

In English

On my honour I promise that I will do my best,

to do my duty to God,

to serve my community,

to help other people and

to live by the Scout Law.


In Gaelic

Geallaim ar m’onóir go ndéanfaidh mé mo

dhícheall,

mo thuiscint agus mo ghlacadh den Réaltacht

Spioradálta a chur chun cinn,

fónamh a dhéanamh do mo phobal,

cabhrú le daoine eile agus

Dlí na nGasóg a choimeád.



The Scout Motto

Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland, according to the 1964 edition of the Scouting Trail the meaning of the Scout Motto Bi Ullamh is explained as: Any person who sets out to be of service to others must be on the alert – soldiers, firemen, police, doctors, priests. They must be ready at any moment to go into action. They will not be able to unless:

  • They have planned their lives carefully so that they have at their fingertips all the skills needed.
  • The have learned to deal with the unexpected.

As a Scout it will be your privilege to serve God and your neighbour. To do this you must keep your sole joined to Jesus Christ by sanctifying grace, train your body to be strong and active, fill your mind with useful knowledge, and learn to make decisions quickly. Your Scout Motto therefore is Bí Ullamh.


The three Scout Principals of the C.B.S.I.

  • A Scout is true to Christ his King, honours our Blessed Lady as the Mother of God, and is proud to be a Catholic.

  • A Scout loves his country.

  • The duty of a Scout begins in his home.


C.B.S.I. Scout Law

The C.B.S.I. Scout Law had 12 points in the 1960s this was reduced over the years going down to 10 and I think there are 7 points today. The law below is from the 1964 edition of the Scouting Trail, a Scout had to learn the print in red by heart, the print in black below the red print gives the meaning of the Law, a Scout was expected to know and understand the meaning of the Law.












The 1964 edition of The Scouting Trail gives the following meaning of the Scout badge.


The Scout Badge

The Cross reminds you of your Holy Faith which is the most important thing in your life.

The Shamrock reminds you of:

  • The Most Holy Trinity.

  • The three Scout Principals, especially the second.

  • The three parts of the Scout Promise.

The Shamrock resting on the Cross shows that truelove of country is based on love of God, and never goes against the teachings of religion.


The C.B.S.I. Sign

Although the Scout sign is very similar around the World different Scout organizations have different meanings for the three fingers and the circle formed by the thumb and little finger. In the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland the circle formed by the Thumb signifies the Unity of God and the bond of friendship that joins all Scouts. The three fingers pointing straight up remind the Scout of

  • The Most Holy Trinity.

  • The Three Scout Principles.

  • The Three Parts of the Scout Promise.


The C.B.S.I. Salute

In the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland the salute was given in the same circumstances as most other Scout organizations when the Scout was in uniform. When not in uniform the salute was given when:

  • Passing a Church or any place where the Blessed Sacrament is kept.

  • When the National Flag is raised or lowered.

  • When the National Anthem is played.

  • On meeting a Priest, Brother or Nun.

  • Passing a funeral or graveyard

  • When Scout Flags are carried ceremonially past the Scout.

 


The C.B.S.I. Prayers 1960s - 1970s


Prayer made up by Saint Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits, is the Scout prayer. You should say it every day.

Dearest Jesus, teach me to be generous,

Teach me to love and serve Thee as Thou deservest;

To give and not to count the cost;

To fight and not to heed the wounds;

To toil and not to seek for rest;

To labour and to look for no reward;

Save that of knowing that I do Thy Holy Will. Amen.


Being the C.B.S.I. one prayer was not enough and Scouts were expected to know The Scout Prayer.


We ask Thee, Almighty Father, through Jesus Christ Thy Son, to pour the gifts of Thy Sprit into the hearts of Catholic Scouts, so that they may Know, Love and serve Thee all the days of their lives. We also pray that Scouts throughout the world may come to share with us the one True Faith. Amen.


There were four Holy Days or Feast Days which all Catholic Boy Scouts were expected to attend Mass and receive Holy Communion and pray for all members of the C.B.S.I. living or dead. In the days when I used to go to Mass you had to fast from the night before and have had received absolution at Confession. The four Holy Days were:

  • Feast of Christ the King – Last Sunday in October.

  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception – 8th of December.

  • Feast of Saint Patrick – 17th of March.

  • Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels – 2nd of October.


Mass on Camp C.B.S.I.

Up to the late 1970s or early 1980s all C.B.S.I. Senior Scouts would have been expected to know how to set up the Alter on Camp. Some Scout groups would have a Priest that would regularly visit camp to say Mass and Mass would usually be said at large Scouting events such as National and Regional events. Scouts groups without a Priest to visit camp and say Mass had to endure the Scout Master’s obsession with attending 8am Mass in the Church at least an hours hike away.


If you are fortunate you will have a Priest with you on camp and have Mass each morning. Be sure you are particularly clean and tidy for Mass.


If you are not near a Church, you may find that you have to set up an altar for Mass. Place the altar stone in the centre of the table or camp-altar. Over this you lay three altar cloths, the bottom two run merely the length of the altar table, while the top cloth falls don on both sides to touch the ground.


At the back-centre of the altar, there is a Crucifix. On each side of the Crucifix is a lighted candle. These candles must be at least 65% wax. Against the base of the Crucifix you may lean the large chart (explanation below), but do not allow it to cover any part of the figures of Our Lord; if necessary raise the Crucifix on a box. The small chart goes on the Epistle side, leaning against the candlestick. The missal stand is placed straight on the Epistle side of the altar, towards the front. On it is the missal, the spine to the right.


A small table or box covered with a white cloth is put near the altar on the Epistle side. On it are the cruets, one containing wine the other water; a small bowl; a white finger towel; the Communion plate; and the bell. (The bell may also be left where the server kneels.)


If you have to lay out the scared vestments you do so in the following order: 1. Chasuble, 2. Stole, 3. Maniple, 4. Cincture - this should be doubled and the two tassels put on the right-hand side, 5. Alb, 6. Amice.  The Priest himself will always dress the Chalice.


Altar Charts more commonly known as Cards (the larger is in the center, containing prayers which the priest reads at the Offertory and Canon.  The smaller one on the Epistle side has the prayers read by the priest when washing his hands after the Offertory). 


C.B.S.I. First Aid

One top-tip in the First Aid section of the 1964 edition of the C.B.S.I. handbook is how to perform an emergency Baptism. Every person has the power to give baptism but except in the case of necessity, only a Priest can lawfully give it. A person gives baptism by pouring water on the head of the person to be baptised saying at the same time: “I baptise thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”


Another piece of advice given in the same book under First Aid advises the Scout, when coming across the scene of an accident to remember to say an act of contrition into the ear of the casualty as hearing is often the last sense to go in a dying person and in the fuss adults usually forget such points.


An act of contrition is a prayer said to absolve you of all your sin, in the event of a person being unable to speak another person may say the act of contrition for them, there were a few different versions but it usually went something like this:


O my God, I am heartily sorry

for having offended Thee

and I detest my sins

above every other evil

because they displease Thee, my God,

Who, in Thy infinite wisdom,

art so deserving of all my love

and I firmly resolve

with the help of Thy grace

never more to offend Thee

and to amend my life.

Amen